In homage to English Wine Week (and while our blog is being upgraded hence the lack of blogging of late), we would like to re-release some of our English vineyard blogs and hope they may inspire you to pick up a glass or two!
As keen advocates of English wine, we have spent the last month on a planned tour of Wine Estates stretching from Cornwall right along the South coast to Kent.
After an early start driving South, we arrived at Three Choirs Vineyard at just after 10am in glorious sunshine and warmth! On arrival, we decided to take one of the various walks around the vineyard, which gives you a great feel of the size of the Estate. There is a fair amount of information dotted around highlighting the various trellis systems and vine varieties all set against the wonderful Gloucestershire countryside. Unfortunately the audio education system in the pergodas didn’t seem to be on at the time we visited but we were able to watch an interesting film about the vineyard in the tasting centre.
There are several holiday lodges nestled amongst the vines, which provide an idyllic and peaceful setting for a getaway.
After a pleasant walk around the vineyard, we visited the shop to sample some of the wines. A couple of bottles were open for a free tasting but you can also choose 5 from the selection of Three Choirs wines available for £6.
The free tasting:
Bacchus Cellar Door 2011 – Refreshing and aromatic dry white, notes of asparagus, elderflower, nettles and green pepper.
Willow Brook 2009 – Schonberger & Siegerrebe, an off dry white, slightly floral and spicy, hints of lychee, nice body. This one took our fancy and a bottle was purchased for later enjoyment!
The five wines we chose to taste:
Siegerrebe Cellar Door 2009 – dry white with classic English character, hedgerow, hawthorn, grapefruit, lychee and zesty citrus feel.
Reichensteiner – Barrel Fermented Cellar Door 2009 – new French oak for 6 months gave a nutty, buttery aroma and taste, slightly honeyed, the fruit seemed a little masked by the oak.
Rosé 2010 – Seyval Blanc & Triomphe, salmon pink in colour, light aroma of strawberries and summer red fruits, a little herby mid-palate, finishes with a soft creaminess.
Red Ravens Hills 2010 – Rondo & Regent, very deep purple in colour, fresh black & blue berry summer fruits, hint of spice, mid-palate some vegetal notes, fruit carried to the finish, which is good for an English red wine as they can often taper off a bit too quickly.
Classic Cuvee NV Brut – Seyval Blanc & Pinot Noir, traditional method bottle fermentation, a little reductive at first but soon developed into more yeasty notes encapsulated within a nice bubbly mouth feel.
After this splendid start to the day, we continued on our journey further into the West Country that included a stop off at Glastonbury Tor.
In the evening, we arrived at Eastcott Vineyard, Devon, which was to be our destination for the next 10 days. We received a warm welcome from owners Hilary and Richard Waller, who had gone out of their way to prepare a tasty homemade butternut squash risotto. This was followed by home grown strawberries with cream, washed down with a lovely bottle of Eastcott Brut Rosé 2010 (red berries, strawberry, cranberry and cherry with a hint of freshly crushed almonds).
This was a fitting end to an eventful day!
* Gricer: a railway enthusiast; collects objects or visits places connected with locomotives and railways.